Vaccines continue to be administered and supply will likely open up, even more, starting in April. Consumers have been dreaming of a return to normal and we appear to be at the cusp. The result of vaccination could be an explosion of pent-up demand for hardest-hit industries and a much better second half than people expect. Still, strong demand is putting pressure on supply chains and creating inflationary pressures. Given that stimulus is dependent on a K-shaped recovery, normalization could bring its own economic disruptions.
Animal spirits are driving momentum across the economy, especially in capital markets. There's hundreds of billions of dollars waiting to be invested via vehicles like SPACs. Valuations are extreme, yet they are justified by low interest rates. Meanwhile demand is exceeding supply in industries like semi-conductors, housing and transport. Companies are citing inflationary pressures. But the Fed and Treasury are united behind continued stimulus. "We have the tools to deal with that risk."
It's hard to believe that we're approaching a year since the US economy shut down due to COVID. Vaccines continue to roll out though and people are ready to have fun. Strong demand is putting pressure on COVID-impacted supply chains and potentially creating inflationary forces.
Markets went haywire last week thanks (so the story goes) to some retail traders in a Reddit forum led by a man named Roaring Kitty. It was hard to pay attention to much of anything else in capital markets, but it was also a busy week for earnings. Industrial companies said that demand was "very, very, very strong" and there was an abundance of commentary on price pressures. Jerome Powell isn't worried though. Game on!
Succinct Summary: The US got a new President last week, and the new administration is pledging more stimulus. The economy continues to chug along though and there are signs of tight capacity in some segments, especially transportation networks. Could additional stimulus lead to higher-than-expected inflation?